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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hellfire

Book #3 on my reading list was Nick Tosches' Hellfire.

This is usually where I rave about the great book I just finished (and this one was great), but no amount of raving can beat the blurbs right on the cover. Try to beat these:

"Quite simply the best rock and roll biography ever written" - Rolling Stone

"The finest book ever written about a rock n' roll performer--nothing else comes close. But that is hardly it is. Sooner or later, Hellfire will be recognized as an American classic." - Greil Marcus

"The finest rock-star bio ever" -- The Village Voice

"The best rock-and-roll biography ever written" - Newsday

"A great book" - Barry Hannah <-- mostly awesome cause it's Barry frickin' Hannah!

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Ryan Adams @ The Paramount

Caught Ryan Adams at the Paramount yesterday evening. He was a bit under the weather, but put on a rollicking rock-n-roll show. No openers, just 2+ hours of typical Ry-Ry craziness (the good kind). Set was excellent, hitting on old classics (Oh My Sweet Carolina, Come Pick Me Up) while mixing in a bunch of new stuff as well. Best show I've seen him do in a long time.

Oh and he even made us our own film...CARDINAL POWERS ACTIVATE!

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Dexter

I dig Dexter. Used to watch it occasionally whenever I had Showtime available, but I'm finally catching up on all of the back episodes now that Season 1 is out on DVD. Get on the band wagon now since it's gonna be all over CBS soon.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rescue Dawn

Film #6 for me this year was Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Entertaining & interesting with great acting. It's nothing like anything else I've seen Herzog do which wouldn't normally be a good thing, but here it works. And um Elton Brand produced it..weird.
RIYL: War flicks, prison break flicks, big budget movies that don't suck


Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Monday, January 21, 2008

American History X

Film #5 for me this year was American History X

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: A preachy, formulaic, so-so flick saved by Ed Norton's great performance.
RIYL: Fight Club, Shawshank Redemption


Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Clown Fight

Nursing Standard finds that kids do not like clowns.

"We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable." -- Penny Curtis
Clowns disagree.

"There are those who are afraid of clowns, this is unavoidable, the same way that there are those afraid of dogs and spiders" -- PipSqueakTheClown

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This Is Your Brain On Music

Book #2 on my reading list was This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin.

I was going to call this one a Steven Pinker-like diatribe on music, but from the last chapter it appears Levitin has a good nerd fight going with Pinker who has called music 'auditory cheesecake' and merely a by-product of the brain's evolutionary adaptation to process language. Levitin takes issue with Pinker's assertion and delivers a compelling argument that there's more to the brain's processing of music than would be expected if it's merely a by-product. Levitin's book shows that either way there's plenty of interesting science to be studied. It's a compelling tour through the neuroscience, basic music theory, and (probably a little too much of) Levitin's own experiences studying it. Overall I thought it was a decent read, but I'm wishing I'd picked up Oliver Sacks' new one instead.

Website for the book
Salon review
Author page on Wikipedia

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dancing on our Graves

Haunting and excellent video from the Cave Singers (my second favorite album of '07)

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sweeney Todd

Film #4 for me this year was Sweeney Todd

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: I'm not much of a fan of musicals, but everything Johnny Depp + Tim Burton collaborate on is genius (gawd awful Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aside). Sweeney Todd lives up to expectations delivering deliciously demented goods that would make Marilyn Manson proud. Depp is amazing as always, but Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen also shine.
RIYL: The Burton/Depp thang, gory musicals


Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oh Comely

Over the years I'm becoming more and more convinced that "Oh Comely" by Neutral Milk Hotel is my favoriteist song of all time. This isn't the best video (you can hear the album version here), but still...

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Juno

Film #3 for me this year was Juno (like the city in Alaska).

My NetFlix rating: 4 stars
Jamie says: Funny stuff, the scene with Michael Cera saying he tries really hard to be cool almost made me fall out of my chair laughing. That Ellen Page ain't half bad either.
RIYL: Freaks and Geeks, Superbad, Napolean Dynamite, The Moldy Peaches


Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007

The first book of my fourth shot at the fifty book challenge was The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 (that's a lotta numbers for one sentance).

I'm not exactly sure what makes the stuff in this book non-required, but I am sure that it's all darned good. There are several pieces well worth reading, but some that particularly stood out to me were Alison Bechdel's comic "A Happy Death", Jennifer Egan's "Selling the General", Kevin A. Gonzalez's "Loteria", Nam Le's "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice" and David J. Morris' "The Big Suck: Notes from the Jarhead Underground". Conan O'Brien's high school commencement speech is also pretty durn funny.

To top it off, courtesy of the 'other notables' index in the back of the book I found out that Padgett Powell published a piece in Subtropics a cool new(ish) literary zine published by my beloved University of Florida. Sweet!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Joe Metro

Bus riders of the world unite. The new video for the Blue Scholars' jam "Joe Metro" is a pretty darned cool view of Seattle via Metro Transit.

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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Fresh on the heels of my first '08 flick was film #2, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Clever send up of the music biopic genre. Better than most parodies by a long shot, and it's got Matt Besser in it. The music ain't half-bad either.
RIYL: John C. Reilly, silly comedies, monkeys


Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Lost Highway

Kicking off my '08 film list was David Lynch's Lost Highway.

My NetFlix rating: 5 stars
Jamie says: Buyer Beware: despite the title this is not a Hank Williams documentary. It is however pure Lynchian goodness. A little too much like the superior Mulholland Drive perhaps, but why mess with something good? Oh and the Mystery Man is the scariest thing evah.
RIYL: Mulholland Drive, Memento

Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia
Fan site make that fan sites

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Top 10 Albums of 2007

Bucking the trend of publishing these in November, here are my top ten albums of the year.

Top 10 Albums of 2007

10.
John Vanderslice
Emerald City


9.

Brakesbrakesbrakes
The Beatific Visions


8.

Band of Horses
Cease To Begin


7.

Dntel
Dumb Luck


6.

Wilco
Sky Blue Sky

5.

Ryan Adams
Easy Tiger

4.
Okkervil River
The Stage Names

3.
Menomena
Friend and Foe

2.
The Cave Singers
Invitation Songs

1.

Spoon
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Just Missed
Lucinda Williams - West, The Broken West - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, Black Francis - Bluefinger, Arcade Fire - Neon Bible, Oakley Hall - I'll Follow You; José González - In Our Nature

Best Live Album
Neil Young - Live at Massey Hall; Robbie Fulks - Revenge

Best Soundtrack
Roky Erickson - You're Gonna Miss Me

Best Reissue
Counting Crows - August and Everything After; Damien Jurado - Gathered In Song

Best Live Shows I Saw This Year
Roky Erickson @ Bumbershoot
Art Brut @ Bumbershoot
Robyn Hitchcock @ The Triple Door
Wilco @ Marymoor Park
Patterson Hood @ ACL

Most Disappointing Albums of the Year
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder, Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch , Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

Most Disappointing Live Show of the Year
Decemberists cancelling their Seattle date

Previously
2006 Year End List
2005 Year End List
2004 Year End List

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope your celebrations went a little smoother than they did here in Seattle. The Space Needle fireworks hit two 'technical difficulties' (apparently attributed to computer glitches) which caused delays in the fireworks firing off. Sadly the accompanying soundtrack didn't get the memo and continued to jam along sans visuals. Not much funnier than watching the local news folk trying to ad lib to cover up. At any rate, things eventually got resolved, the remaining fireworks fired off in soundtrackless glory, and 2008 is now under way. Let's just hope that the rough start is not an omen of the year to come.

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